Tony Mowbray was pleased to see the return of some defensive resilience as Middlesbrough ground out a goalless draw at Burnley.
The visitors offered little in the way of an attacking threat for most of the contest but might have snatched an ill-deserved victory as substitutes Mustapha Carayol and Curtis Main sparked a late rally.
Boro remain in the top six despite only winning one of their last eight npower Championship matches and boss Mowbray conceded to adopting a purposefully cautious approach in the midst of an injury-crisis, following consecutive four-goal losses away from home at Ipswich and Crystal Palace.
"From our perspective we've conceded too many goals on the road recently," he said. "We've got a lot of injuries. I think it was 12 first-team players injured tonight and I don't make any apologies for coming and making sure that we were defensively solid.
"A really hard-working team was picked and a lot of attacking threat was left on the bench to try and make sure we stayed in the game. I was pleased that we kept a clean sheet, that we worked extremely hard for each other - it's been a difficult month-and-a-half."
Carayol, Main and fellow replacement Ishmael Miller all had opportunities as Boro belatedly went through the gears, and Mowbray reflected on a strategy that almost worked to perfection.
He added: "That was the plan really, to stay in the game and then change it from the bench. Carayol, Main and Miller coming on gave us an attacking threat. You might ask 'why didn't you start with that attacking threat' but having started with attacking threats in recent weeks we've found ourselves 2-0 down, chasing games and losing four (goals).
"It was a case of getting the players to get a foothold again, picking up points and looking upwards in the table."
Burnley manager Sean Dyche took plenty of positives from his side's performance but was left to rue their lack of cutting edge, saying: "We played well for a large part of the game, kept the ball and dominated the possession stats and chance stats without really opening up that one clinical moment to finish it.
"It's a knife-edge sort of feeling. That's a side who are sixth and have got a lot of big players, and they've come here and defended. That was the intent. It kind of shows how far we've come as a team and as a club to be recognised as someone who is still in there with a real chance of chasing the dream."